The findings were based on data from eight studies, involving 20,152 people 18 and older whose walking was measured by a device and whose health was tracked, on average, for more than six years.
For those 60 and older, the more steps taken, the lower their risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). For young adults, however, the study found no link between steps taken and CVD risk.
The probable reason for that, the researchers wrote, is that CVD “is a disease of aging” that generally is not diagnosable until risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes have progressed for years.
The researchers did not tabulate any link between distance walked and specific types of cardiovascular disease, such as heart failure or arrhythmia, but rather with heart disease overall. The study also found no additional benefit from a higher intensity, or pace, of walking.
Health benefits of walking a frequent study topic
Health benefits tied to walking, however, have been the focus of multiple studies and ongoing debate.
For instance, an earlier study from the same research group, published in the Lancet last March, found similar links between steps taken by older adults and a lower risk for death from any cause, as did a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in September. That research, however, also found that a faster pace increased the risk reduction.
And, although the American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps a dayit also notes that just a mile of walking can provide health benefits.
This article is part of The Post’s “Big Number” series, which takes a brief look at the statistical aspect of health issues. Additional information and relevant research are available through the hyperlinks.